BBB Tips on Breast Cancer Awareness

October 08, 2013

October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Many Americans embrace this cause by purchasing pink-ribbon products and services to support a cure for breast cancer. Your Better Business Bureau offers tips to avoid being scammed.

Over the last year, millions of inquiries were made to BBBs across the US and Canada about charities. When donating to charity, people need to be aware of where their money is going. Remember, if you receive solicitations for donations, be cautious of people claiming to represent national breast cancer charities. According to the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month organization (NBCAM), the group doesn’t solicit contributions and hasn’t authorized the use of its name for solicitation purposes. Contact charities directly to confirm solicitations.

BBB offers these tips to protect yourself from a charity scam:

· Never give cash. Write a check to the charity, not an individual. Never give your credit card number or other personal information in response to unsolicited donation requests.

· Beware of emotional appeals.

· Beware of high-pressure requests for on-the-spot donations, with little information describing what a charity does.

· Keep records of your donations with receipts, canceled checks and bank statements to document your giving for taxes.

· Think twice if a charity is unwilling to answer questions about their operations, finances and programs.

· Read product labels carefully. A trustworthy company should disclose a charity name and the amount of sale benefiting the charity.

· Checking online could help you better understand any program involving charitable donations.

· Confirm the charity’s corporate partners, which will typically be listed on charities’ Web sites.

Pink packaging is prevalent this time of the year. BBB has studied pink products ranging from lint rollers to teddy bears. BBB found that some products promise significant donations to breast cancer charities while others do not. Many products lay out the amount they contribute to charities on the packaging, which the BBB believes is the best way to inform consumers who are interested in buying products to support those charities. However, other products make only vague claims, or they require consumers to mail in proof of their purchase before donations can be made.

If you want to support breast cancer charities by purchasing products, the BBB advises that you look into how that purchase will benefit a charity and which charity will get the money. More tips:

  • Inspect the product for information. Many companies clearly report on labels how much of their sales go to charity and specifically where the money goes.
  • Check the company's website. If the information isn't on the product itself, it often can be found at the website address printed on the product packaging.
  • If you still can't find the information, call the company and ask for it. Firms that use charity tie-ins to market their products should be transparent to consumers.
  • Contact the charity directly if you have doubts they are receiving proceeds.
  • Check out the charity to decide whether you believe it is worthy of your support. One way to do this is by contacting the BBB to determine whether the charity meets the BBB's 20 Standards for Accountability. To check out a charity, go to

If you have any questions regarding charities, get help from your BBB, such as a list of BBB Accredited charities and reviews on ones you’re considering. Visit or call 1-800-388-2222.